I found out today that my brother-in-law’s former roommate babysat my boss’s kids many years ago. It doesn’t concern me so much that this thing happened – it’s how easily it conversation led to this discovery.
When I’m in an unfamiliar public environment, as this job was to me six or seven months ago, I numb down my sense of self for the purpose of building the relationships needed to survive. I need to mentally fight through the time in an unknown territory filled with new people. I need to dilute my confusion and lack of knowledge with chit chat and a display of character. Small talk. There isn’t a choice.
I would much rather keep my life in silos. My mouth slips too much out of habit and I just let the whole conversation fall as the path of least resistance. I’d really like it if I could undo a lot of the cross-contamination I’ve done in my life – for my family to know fewer friends; for groups of friends to not know other groups of friends unless through my own choosing; for coworkers to not know the coworkers of my friends and/or high school buddies of married-in family; for Dirk to not be independently associated with every human I’ve encountered. It won’t happen.
These things happen organically in this complex network of hundreds of thousands of consciousnesses bridged through human infrastructure. I can’t control it. What I CAN control is whether I import my contacts from Gmail into Twitter, or sync Facebook and Instagram accounts, or even go so close as to touch anything from a former classmate inviting me to LinkedIn. I can’t backpedal with the face-to-face damage already done. What I can do is stop and think before clicking on something that will expose to the world everything I’ve said to everyone I know, for every reason.
Stop this madness. It’s Orwellian as shit.